Avaya aligning business plans to support long term growth in KSA

ITP.net talks to Nidal Abou-ltaif, president of Avaya International about Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 strategy

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Avaya aligning business plans to support long term growth in KSA Nidal Abou-ltaif, President, Avaya International
By  Mark Sutton Published  October 24, 2016

Nidal Abou-ltaif, president of Avaya International, discusses how Vision 2030 will impact Avaya’s business in the Kingdom, what projects are in line with government entities in Saudi Arabia and if organisations are ready for digitisation.

ITP.net: How will Vision 2030 impact on Avaya's business in the Kingdom?

Nidal Abou Ltaif: Vision 2030 is an exciting and refreshing initiative for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will have an influence and impact across all of our operations there. As Avaya, we have already started a project for our operations in Saudi Arabia, called KSA 3.0, and we are focused on how we build a business that can work around Vision 2030, and how we can contribute and benefit at the same time.

We have been working on adapting KSA 3.0 as we understand more about what will happen with Vision 2030 and what will happen with the National Transformation Plan 2020. We are looking at building our project to match the Vision 2030 goals, but we are also trying to identify programs that we can execute in the next two to three years, that we can adapt as the market changes, and that we can change as the Vision is adjusted.

Our KSA 3.0 project aligns with Vision 2030 in some important areas. Vision 2030's directives will allow us to immediately expedite Saudisation, and to add more women to our workforce. We can also have a better long term plan for the Kingdom. KSA 3.0 is a three-to-five year plan, before we used to make yearly plans for Saudi Arabia, but Vision 2030 sets out the strategic objectives, and we can work on building our business to align with those objectives.

As Avaya, Vision 2030 requires a company like us to be involved directly in the Kingdom and with our most important customers. As such, we will move from selling products to more consultation on projects - the first thing we did was decide to move to a bigger office, to host all these changes, and also we started to develop our direct business into the country, when before we used to work through partners, so as Avaya we will be selling direct for products and services. We are also changing our partner profile as part of this move from selling products to selling services; we are working with partners who have a better understanding of software and digital transformation.

ITP.net: Does Avaya have any existing programs for Saudisation?

NAL: We have an existing program for graduates, a fast track scheme, and we are hiring early career graduates into our workforce, so that we can build them up, to eventually lead the operations in Saudi themselves - we believe that by 2030, our operations in the Kingdom should be 100% Saudi.

Our fresh graduate program has been very successful, it is a year-long program to expose those graduates to all parts of the company, and so far we have retained almost all of the graduates either through direct employment with Avaya or with our partners.

We are in the process of going to some of the universities, and technical schools; to identify other opportunities, which is also part of KSA 3.0. I am focusing on is how fast Saudisation can take place and also how we can pay attention to the female cadre in the country. The women of Saudi Arabia need the right to exercise their education and their intelligence, they will benefit the country and the employers. We have an ongoing process of looking at how we can employee Saudi females, we already have some female staff working in our call centres.

With video and teleworking, we are able to employ staff working remotely, which will assist in being able to recruit female employees, and we are also very interested in how we can extend these opportunities to women, and to all Saudi living outside of the major cities, to extend employment to all regions.

ITP.net: How are you improving the capabilities of your workforce in Saudi Arabia?

NAL: For the last two years, we have mobilised our training efforts in Saudi Arabia. We have trained a lot of partners and a lot of customers on our solutions, and part of our KSA 3.0 planning is to appoint new training partners, and to find new ways to train people on the job.

ITP.net: What projects do you have with government entities in Saudi Arabia?

NAL: The majority of our enterprise business in the Kingdom is with the government, and we are working closely with customers in most of the key sectors. We have a lot of focus on education and healthcare, and are working with some of the leading organisations in these areas.

For example, we recently held discussions with our customer, Dr. Sulaiman Habib Medical Group (HMG), one of the largest providers of comprehensive healthcare services in the MENA region, about how we can collaborate to support the transformation of the healthcare sector in the Kingdom. As the Kingdom gears up towards Vision 2030, healthcare is one of the key sectors that is earmarked for transformation, and together we are looking at how we can enable digital transformation across all areas of healthcare provision.

ITP.net: Are the major organisations in the Kingdom ready for digitisation?

NAL: Based on my experience, in other countries that have managed the transformation first into e-government, and then digitisation, the only way to succeed is to have a change in mindset. You need to change people's mindsets, or change the people, as well as create the new regulatory environment for the public and the private sector, and also to lead by example. The leadership needs to embrace the change and then others will follow - Vision 2030 sets out a clear plan to achieve these changes and also demonstrates the leadership and willingness to make the Vision a success.

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